The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has sought more time to enlighten its members to stop the practice of open grazing of cattle in Lagos State.

The association’s Zonal Secretary for South-West, Maikudi Usman, made the plea on Wednesday during a one-day public hearing organised by the state House of Assembly on the anti-open grazing bill.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill was entitled: “A bill for a law to Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing In Lagos State, the Trespass of Cattle Land And For Other Connected Purposes”.

Mr Usman said their members needed additional time to be enlightened on how they would be breeding cattle in one place rather than encroaching on farmlands.

“Our breeders are not used to breeding cattle in one place. They move from here to another place. When we say we will keep cattle in one place, the owner of the cattle will not have funds to feed the animals in one place.

“They have already depended on going from one place to another because in the rainy season time, we have where we settle down, and we also have for the dry season.

“We are pleading with the Lagos State government to give us more time to go tell our people and train them how they will be breeding cattle in one place and not encroach on farmers’ land,” he said.

Mr Usman said that it would be more expensive to breed cattle in one place, while urging the state government to amend the proposed bill on anti-open grazing.

He added that the best way to breed cattle was to move them from one place to another, saying that they were moved to different places during the rainy and dry season.

Mr Usman said the association would need the assistance of the state government if the bill must be signed into law, adding that raising a cow in one location could increase the price of a cow to two million naira.

The zonal secretary urged the state government to subsidise the cost of raising the animals in one location.

“If cattle are bred in one place, the price could go up to about two million naira each. We agreed with some local chiefs in other states that anyone who wants to rear cows in a location should register and should indicate when he is leaving.

“A Fulani man moves from one place to another to ply his trade, but we have some bad eggs that are fomenting trouble. The government should allow us to talk to our people that they don’t want our cows to destroy people’s farmlands.

“We have met with stakeholders in Ekiti, Ondo and even Oyo States and we reached agreements with them,” he said.

In his comment, the President of the Lagos State Sheep Farmers Association, Mustapha Ibrahim, said that the bill was not meant to attack anybody, but that it was all-embracing.

Mr Ibrahim noted that land resource was very important to the state, adding that the relationship between cattle herders and farmers should be symbiotic.

He also called for legislation to promote the creation of farm estates across the state.

Also, Chairman of Lagos State Butchers Association, Alabi Kazeem, urged the assembly to support the cattle breeders as breeding cattle on one location could be expensive.

Earlier, the Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, in his keynote address, said it was important to address the issue of cattle rearing, which could affect security of lives because it was a pointer to peaceful co-existence and other human desires.

Mr Obasa, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the issue of cattle rearing and open grazing called for concerted efforts for stability and economic development.

In his welcome address, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Kehinde Joseph, said the proposed law was meant to ensure peace between herders and farmers in the state.

Mr Joseph said it was meant to ensure the registration of herders and prohibit cattle roaming and imposes stiffer punishment on those who carry arms to rear cattle.

“It will forestall herders-farmers clashes and redefine social and economic activities in the state.

“Members of cattle breeders association will be sensitised on the new development and we will ensure strict compliance with the law, when it is passed,” he said.

(NAN)

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